October 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Silas Redd (25) during the first half of the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown - Silas Redd, RB USC

After starting his collegiate career at Penn State, Silas Redd took the opportunity to leave the Nittany Lions in light of the sanctions placed on the University and went to play for USC for his final two seasons.  In his sophomore season in the Big Ten, Redd carried the ball 244 times for 1,241 yards and 7 touchdowns along with 9 receptions for 40 yards.  As a junior with the Trojans, he had 167 carries for 905 yards, 9 catches for 113 yards, and 10 total touchdowns.  Although his overall production was slightly down in the PAC-12, Redd was better with each touch.

Entering his senior year, Redd and the rest of the running backs at USC could be asked to carry a significant load of the offense.  With Matt Barkley now an Eagle, the Trojans will have talent at quarterback but not the experience and they may pound the football more this year.  Redd is a balanced runner who has the frame to add significant bulk as he goes to the NFL but looks like he can contribute now as well.  If Redd wants to come out of this season a more complete back, he needs to improve his hands not only when it comes to catching the ball where he has had only a small amount of production but he has also put the ground.  Redd looks like a rotational back and a day three pick at this point but he has a chance to improve his stock and be a fringe day two pick with a chance to be an immediate contributor.

Vitals & Build

Redd is listed at 5’10” 200lbs and does not even look that big.  He is extremely lean but shows pretty good strength in his legs.  Redd has great feet, balance, and vision.  His explosiveness is impressive but his top end speed is probably not going to blow anyone away.  It remains to be seen if his body will take it, but Redd’s body appears to have the space on it to add significant bulk and if he can do it, he could have incredible strength on top of being quick and explosive at the next level.  There appears to be substantial potential for Redd physically.

Running Style

Redd is a terrific runner because of the way he attacks the holes as he sees them.  He has a ton of experience running behind a fullback and explodes through the hole.  What makes Redd so effective is that he has the ability to make subtle moves that make a big difference without losing momentum.  In effect, he makes one slight step while attacking the hole that adjusts the path he runs on and makes a defender miss or sets up his blocker to cut off an opponent for him.

Redd certainly has the ability to make dramatic moves like jump cuts and will when needed, but he has demonstrated excellent judgment on how much is needed in a given situation.  There are backs that will make a jump cut when Redd is making a slight adjustment and it forces them to plant and explode again after the cut, so they are still in the backfield while Redd is already in or through the hole.  And Redd uses all of this to attack in between the tackles and look great doing it.  He is extremely comfortable working inside and is natural in how he attacks plays.

The other important aspect of this is it makes Redd’s power more viable and prevents him from taking big hits.  Because he can anticipate and see plays developing when he makes these slight movements to adjust his path, he is getting defenders at more awkward angles, not taking the full force of the hit or making them miss entirely.

While not being an overwhelming power back, Redd will drop his shoulder and drive his legs through contact, so he will fall forward and pick up more yardage as he goes to the ground.  Because of the angles he takes, he will get some defenders at a disadvantage and either catch them at a bad tackling angle and be able to demonstrate his power or run through an arm tackle attempt and continue to run.

Redd is patient as a runner but he hits the hole as soon as it is there and gets there extremely quickly.  He really has a good understanding of the intangibles of the running back position and it makes him a better runner than many with better physical talents.

The one area where Redd struggles is when he gets hit in the backfield.  He goes down really easily and will have negative plays.  The hope is that he will continue to gain strength and be able to do more to improve upon that, but they are there and they do happen too often.  He also will put the ball on the ground on occasion and that is an area that needs to improve as well.

Route Running & Technique

The area that could really hurt Redd as he goes to the NFL is his lack of ability thus far as a receiver.  To this point in his career with two different programs, he has caught a total of 22 passes.  He is used basically on some screens and dump offs but he is not really looked at as a weapon out of the backfield.  This will hurt him in the NFL Draft if he cannot improve because he is not so good that there are not players with similar talent who can give them more in that respect.

Hands

Redd has had some drops and some fumbles in his career.  He needs to work on both and that is going to be a key in perhaps explaining why he has not had more passes thrown his way.  If he can improve, he will be better as far as carrying the football but make him a better all-around threat as a back and make him a far more viable player.

Blocking

Redd is not a powerhouse blocker, but he will at least get in the way and is not afraid to absorb contact to prevent his quarterback from getting hit.  And the fact he is not a great receiver probably forces Redd to take blocking more seriously because it is going to be key he does it well if he cannot be a receiving threat.  Otherwise, it becomes difficult to use him or defenses will key on his substitution as meaning the offense is running the ball.  Redd is not afraid to hold his ground and make a block as opposed to just trying to dive and cut opponents.  He can continue to get better and more strength will help, but he should not be a liability in pass protection.

System Fit

Redd can play in a number of schemes but he might be best suited for a zone blocking scheme.  He has terrific vision and understands how to see and hit holes.  Redd can also play in a more rigid scheme and is comfortable working behind a fullback or as a single back.  He looks like someone who can contribute as part of a rotation at the moment but if he can become a more complete player and add more strength, Redd has the potential to be a feature back in the NFL.

Schedule

Thu, Aug. 29 at Hawaii
Sat, Sept. 7 vs. Washington State
Sat, Sept. 14 vs. Boston College
Sat, Sept. 21 vs. Utah State
Sat, Sept. 28 at Arizona State
Thu, Oct. 10 vs. Arizona
Sat, Oct. 19 at Notre Dame
Sat, Oct. 26 vs. Utah
Fri, Nov. 1 at Oregon State
Sat, Nov. 9 at Cal
Sat, Nov. 23 at Colorado
Fri, Nov. 29 vs. UCLA

Notable Games

The first game that stands out as a solid test for Redd is on the road at Arizona State.  They have a talented front seven led by Will Sutton that could be USC and Redd some creative ways to try to contain him.  Two weeks later, the Trojans go on the road to play the Fighting Irish in South Bend.  The Notre Dame front seven is incredibly impressive with Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt anchoring the Irish defensive line.  The regular season finale is always a huge game in the battle of Los Angeles with UCLA.  The Bruin defense has a ton of speed up front with Anthony Barr and Cassius Marsh and Redd will need to have a big game for the Trojans to take home the victory.

NFL Comparison

Redd’s game is somewhat similar to that of Donald Brown.  Brown is an extremely fundamentally sound back who did not bring an overwhelming physical ability and he was not much of receiving threat.  Brown has struggled to make the transition to the NFL and certainly has not lived up to the first round selection, but that does not mean Redd cannot.  They just have similar traits and a way of playing the position.  Redd could end up more physically impressive before making going to the NFL and being a better receiver.

Draft Projection

Redd is a talented runner who really has a great sense of how to run the football, showing to be extremely effective at both Penn State and USC.  The questions facing Redd include how much potential he has going forward and his hands both in catching and carrying the football.  Redd has the talent and ability to contribute effectively in a rotation and the potential to be a feature back but it will require significant improvement to become a better all-around threat as well as adding more strength, whether it is before he gets to the NFL or while he is there.  Redd looks the part of a day three pick but if he makes a significant jump this year, he could push for a spot in the top 100.

Tags: 2014 Mock Draft 2014 NFL Draft Penn State Nittany Lions Football Running Backs Silas Redd USC Trojans Football

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